This One Goes Out to the One I Love

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Dear Diary or whole Internet…whatever,

I have a confession to make.  I might have been a wee bit selfish and assholey about Father’s Day.  It may not have occurred to me to put any effort into it until the actual day.  And then I blew it.  Big time.

First, Mother’s Day was a freakin national holiday for me and I took it VERY seriously.  No one was taking this day away from me.  I did what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted and I did not wipe one butthole that was not solely behind me for one whole day.  It was a big deal.  I prepped Mark for weeks that I was taking this day.  No presents.  No cards.  No breakfast in bed (besides the bed was already full of crumbs from my nacho binge the night before anyways).  No need.  JUST LEAVE ME ALONE.  So he did, they did.  Like a boss.  He took the day and enjoyed the kids without me.  It was awesome.

So – he set the bar pretty high right?  I should have followed suit and let him have a day all to himself,  bought him a cool gift, or at the very least become an animal in the sack right?  Nope.  Not at all.  First, I was tired.  We’d been in the sun all day.  I just wanted to sleep for cryin out loud, and since 50 Shades and my new smut addiction have come about, he hasn’t had much to complain about. (Gross, I know, I’ll stop.  I can hear my sister ewwing from 2 miles away.)

AND, I also may have gone a bit over budget this month, so spending any money, even on him, would have just made him mad, so the present was a nonstarter.

My big hang-up, and the thing that made me kind of an asshole, was my whole attitude about the whole thing.  I might have had the teeny tiny thought that he didn’t deserve a day off.   I do the work Monday through Friday.  I wipe the butts (can you tell I’m getting a wee bit tired of doing this?), I use all my vacation on mystery fevers, I worry what the mystery fevers are, I pack lunches, I fix dinner (kind of, they get fed anyways, PB&J counts people), I chauffeur to med checks, doctors, soccer, karate, daycare and so on.  I work full time, do the pick ups, rush home to fix dinner (kind of, see above), unpack, OK, I’m getting tired of typing this, let’s just say I do a lot.  By myself.

So, I kind of got my panties in a bunch and ignored any sort of planning or putting any thought into the day.  I may not have given him the day because this was his first time home in two weeks and I NEEDED him to be with the kids.

Problem is, he didn’t deserve my attitude.  His job isn’t his choice, a sucky local job market makes it so he has to travel to find work.  It’s a good job, good pay with a good company and an awesome opportunity for him that at the same time allows our family to stay put near our support systems and surroundings with which we are familiar.   He gets to come home every weekend mostly and when he does, he hits the ground running.

He gets home, maintains the outside (with the exception of my May only gardening helpfulness), does trash duty, pool duty, fixes all that’s been broken (because I’m just a girl, math is hard!), helps out his family, and cooks all the weekend meals.  This is all in addition to organizing fun nights like outdoor movie night, trips to the Zoo, swim parties and cookouts.  All with two kids hanging off him.  Then he catches a 7 a.m. flight back to his hotel “home.”

So, it’s not like he’s livin the dream either.  And he hates it.  I mean, the job is great, but it’s the crazy number of miles away with no end in sight that bites.  Plus, he’s a way better dad than I’ll ever be a mom, even just two days a week.  Sure, he might miss a few details and match G in horrendous clothes, but really, there’s not much to complain about regarding his parenting skills.  He has more energy, more creativity, and basically the mentality of a 12 year old.  No wonder kids love him.  He’s wicked fun, indefatigable (word of the day toilet paper), and the most creative dad on the planet.  Oh yeah, and none of it’s forced.  Even before we had kids, I could find him playing with his nieces and nephews when the rest of the adults were being all grown uppity together.

So, this is my public apology.  I am sorry honey for being such an asshat.  You know I’m not perfect and you love me anyways.  You’ve put up with me for close to 18 years and this is no where near my first fuck up.  I’ll make it up to you.  Maybe with some steak, Killian’s and a rowdy romp in the hay once the kids go to bed.  What can I say, he’s easy to please.  No ties for this guy…well maybe we’ll throw some ties in there, you know, just for fun.  🙂

Outdoor movie night...Come on!!!  Suck at something will ya?!
Outdoor movie night…Come on!!! Suck at something will ya?!
Real men wear pink and watch the babies
Real men wear pink and watch the babies
You may see a smartass, I see a man unloading the dishwasher.
You may see a smartass, I see a man unloading the dishwasher.
He was a LAMP for christsakes!  I love lamp.
He was a LAMP for christsakes! I love lamp.
And this.  Just. This.
And this. Just. This.

 

Things Have Been Said

A snippet of things I have said tonight…

“I cannot dance like a royal princess if you don’t turn Macklemore back on.”

“Stop eating the butter.”

“Let me get this straight, your head hurts because your thumb hurts?”

“NO!  I am not wiping your butt until I finish dinner!”

“NO!  I am not plunging the toilet until I finish dinner!”

Aaand face palm!!

Face Palm

 

Mother’s Day

mom-thanks-bringing-into-mothers-day-ecard-someecards

 

I take Mother’s Day very, very seriously.  Now, I am usually not a big Hallmark holiday type of gal.  I could care less about Sweetest Day or Valentine’s Day, not even an acknowledgement required (how lucky is my husband?).  St. Patty’s Day makes me hide in my house.  New Year’s is the same.  Christmas and Easter are fun, but tons of work and planning.  Thanksgiving is like my Superbowl, as it pertains solely to food, but I digress.

Mother’s Day is my high holiday.  A day where I get the day off.  A day of rest.  A day about ME.  The past few years, I have gotten totally gypped.  Mark has been out of town, a kid has been sick,  and other uncontrollable circumstances have prevented me from doing the one thing I have wanted to do.  NOTHING.  As I told my husband, this is not about me not wanting to be around my kids, this is more about not having anyone NEED anything from me.  A day where I am absolved of feeling guilty for doing what I want, not what my kids want.  A day to walk out of the house to go shopping, alone and without moving heaven and earth to get said few hours alone to myself.

So, I thought I’d give you a brief synposis of what I DID NOT do and what I DID do:

I DID NOT wipe anyone’s butt but my own.

I DID NOT prepare or plan anyone’s meals but my own.

I DID NOT break up any fights or put anyone in time out.

I DID NOT cut up any food for anyone.

I DID NOT put a kid in a shower or bath.

I DID NOT get out of bed to start some electronic this morning.

I DID NOT go outside to ride bikes or go fishing on this frigid spring day.

I DID NOT make any decisions about anything for anyone.

I DID NOT load anyone into a car and wait patiently while they buckled up and fought over the movie, nor did I yell when they put up their umbrella instead of properly restraining themselves.

I DID NOT comb anyone’s hair or brushed any teeth that did not belong to me.

I DID NOT clean up after lunch and breakfast, and then proceed to sweep up most of what was prepared off the floor and table.

I DID NOT wipe any noses.

I DID NOT stand outside in the bitter cold yelling “CARRRR!”

I DID NOT get told I was chubby today.

I DID NOT have to tell my preschoolers teacher that I am not pregnant, no matter what my 4 year old told them.

I DID NOT have to explain how corn becomes popcorn, or why the lines are solid or striped in the street, or why birds poop or who that lady is in the car next to us.

I DID NOT have to watch Backyardigans, Dora, How It’s Made, Benji or Cinderella at all today.   I did however watch Phineas and Ferb, because that show is hilarious.

However, I DID go shopping at my own pace.  I tried on clothes, compared prices, and DID NOT have to stop and explain why the mannequins do not have hands and/or feet nor did I have to tell them “no not this time honey” to every single $1 item in the checkout line.

I DID go to a Mexican restaurant and had a big-ass margarita and some awesome fajitas nachos without once having to cut up any pancakes or ask for more ranch for chicken nuggets.  I had an adult conversation without having to say once, “Wait for Mommy to finish….yes, that’s nice, no, I don’t know why that man has long hair or why that lady is wearing blue.”

I DID go to the bathroom BY MYSELF.  No company.  No comments on said results.  No asking, “What’s the yucky smell?”

I DID read my book.  In the middle of the day.  For no reason.

I DID straighten up my house UNINTERRUPTED.  I DID throw away some Easter candy and maybe a few artistic drawings without being accused of destroying their only food source and hating on their creativity.

I DID NOT yell one time today.

I love being a mom, even despite all the bitching you see on this blog.  My kids crack me up.  They light up my life and not for one second would I wish they weren’t here.  I got to snuggle with my son today for a while, mainly because I didn’t have anything else planned or on my mind, and I could just sit and enjoy the moment.  And I did.  I high fived my daughter for her awesome picture that she drew and I excitedly listened to their stories about their day with dad.  I did not ignore my children.  I did not make a big deal about wanting to be away from them.  Tomorrow I will start the day fresh and renewed and present.  But, today, today was all about giving myself a break – emotionally and physically.  It was awesome, and I can’t wait until next year to do it all over again.

Thanks to my husband and my family for understanding that I needed this day. Not because I am a bad mom, but because I do the best I can with what I’ve got and, frankly, I’m exhausted.   I’d just like one day a year to not have to worry about anyone but myself.   I hope you all had a day as wonderful as mine.   God bless all the mothers out there.  God bless our partners for putting up with us.  And God bless the kids who let us try this parenting gig out on them, I’ll pay your therapy bills one day I promise.

mothers-day-ecard-bowels

Thanks Mom

I wrote this a while ago, but thought in honor of Mother’s Day, I’d reshare.

An Open Letter to My  Mom

Revised

Mom,

I owe you quite a bit.  This mothering gig seemed easy through the eyes of a kid.  How hard could it be really?  I am only now truly beginning to understand the magnitude of what you did.  The following is a list of things that I am truly thankful for, and it’s a working list, because there are things you did for which I am not yet aware because I am still new to this mothering thing, being only six years in…

  • Thank you for letting me poke at you every single Saturday morning to wake you up.  Even though you worked full time and Saturday was your one day to sleep in, you let me tell you it was time to get up.  And then, not only did you get up, but you promptly made us breakfast.
  • Thank you for letting my sexy swimmer boyfriend in the front door.  I am not sure I will do the same for Gracie’s boyfriend, because I know what is on their minds and what they are going to try to pull with me in the same house.  Also, thanks for letting me leave with him in his big white jalopy car too.  Again, I am not sure I will let Gracie out of the house after the age of 15.
  • Thank you for the complete and balanced dinners.  Every. Single. Night.  After working a full day, without sitting down, you started cooking and had dinner on the table by 6 p.m.  Never did we have a PB&J dinner, or mac n cheese five days in a row, you cooked actual food and served vegetables at EVERY dinner.
  • Thanks for working a full time job and then coming home to raise us.  You never relaxed, you cooked dinner, packed lunches and kept a clean house for all of my childhood.  It was amazing.  I honestly don’t know how you did it.  My house is a disaster at all times, lunches are packed in a rush in the morning, and dinners, well, see above.
  • Thanks for not killing me for how I treated my sister.  I know now she wasn’t that bad, just kinda annoying in a little sister kind of way, and that I should have been way nicer to her.  Thanks for telling me that one day she’ll be my best friend while I looked at you like you were crazy.  You were right.
  • Thanks threatening to rip out a belly button ring if I ever came home with one.  That was one mistake I was too scared to make.
  • Thanks for never letting me play with fireworks.  While I thought you were totally uncool at the time, I feel the same way now.  My poor kids.
  • Thanks for the weekends at the cottage, where food was always a given, and I was allowed to hang with cousins and my grandparents every single weekend of the summer.
  • Thanks for all the wonderful cards and cute thoughtful gifts for every Christmas, birthday, Valentine’s Day, Easter and so on.  Every single holiday sneaks up on me, and I am still having trouble giving all the credit to a fat guy in a red suit.

This list is a work in progress.  There are so many things I am thankful for that I do not know yet, and those that I am aware of, but have yet to remember in my sleep-deprived overloaded brain.

I love you mom and thank you every day for turning us into respectable adults (I use the term respectable and adults very loosely).

Love,

Jen (and Lisa too, since she lets me sign her hand-crafted cards on occasion).

A View Through a Peephole

253395_532719740107150_224326385_nI have a pretty intense desire to be liked.  This has waned as I’ve gotten older, and I am not quite so devastated if someone does not take a keen interest in me.  That’s fine.  What really bothers me is when people form opinions of me that aren’t true.  You can honestly  dislike me because I’m a crazy liberal, have bad taste in music and books, and am fairly lazy.   I also try to be funny at all times, which can grate on people’s nerves.  I also complain a lot, am a bit of a gossip, swear like a sailor, quote bad old movies and don’t find Big Bang Theory funny at all (I’ve tried, I just don’t get it).  These are all things that I will legitimately own as my personality traits.  Take or leave em, that’s me, and after 33 years on this planet, I like me, so if you don’t like it you can suck it.

What bothers me is when people form judgments or opinions of who I am based on a very small sampling of my personality and life, and being an introvert, a snippet is usually only what  most people see.

See me snap at my daughter in a store because to you she’s being “just being a kid?”  Well this kid just told me she HATED me because I didn’t let her watch a movie on the way to the store, only because she asked when we pulled into the parking lot of the store.  Said daughter then proceeded to throw a screaming fit in the car, which put her in a coughing fit on the verge of throwing up and made us 10 minutes later than we needed to be, all just to run in to pick up one freakin jug of milk.

See me sitting on a park bench maybe sneaking a peek at my phone every once in a while my kids run gleefully in the playground?  Chances are, I am checking the time, not Pinterest (or maybe I am, what of it?), and have just spent the entire week living and breathing my kids and could use a breather.  Practices, lunches, doctor’s appointments, dinners, homework, building forts, blowing up various toys, replacing batteries in night lights at midnight, hearing their highs and lows of the day, disciplining, celebrating and so on.  Every. Single. Moment.  I am not married to my phone, it’s just I am too tired to run and play when my kids are perfectly content to play without me.

The problem with my parenting is that because I am introverted, I tend not to show the emotion, joy, happiness, and love I feel for my kids in public.  I am content to let them have the spotlight, sit back and cheer quietly, and quietly survey the area for child molesters.  My best parenting moments come when no one is watching.  I am calmer because there isn’t an adult judging my every action, wondering if I am coddling my boy or giving into my princess too much, or making everything a teaching moment.  When we are alone, we just have fun and we talk about life, about the good, the bad and the days where I wish I could lock them (or me) in a cage (just kidding, it would be a comfortable cage).  No one sees the crazy dance parties or my dead-on performance of Ursula from Little Mermaid (For some reason, I relish only the villain parts).   No one sees me struggling through a how to defend yourself from other stupid, mean kids discussion with my 6 year old, who’s just finding out there are actually people out there who don’t completely adore him.  No one sees me sit and do a puzzle with my G or playing Barbies, or my personal favorite, My Little Ponies, like a boss.

I know people judge because my daughter is always sick.  Yes, she’s in daycare, and yes, that’s a big part of why she’s sick, but am I solely to blame because I work?  No, the daycare is not dirty or neglected.  It’s as clean as it can get with 18 snotty, sneezy and wipey 4 year olds together every day for 8-9 hours a day.  Her caregivers love and care for her oftentimes better than I could.  And they are all freakin saints when it comes to potty training.   So, when my kids get sick, please don’t blame being in daycare OR the fact that I didn’t breastfeed them long enough.  Does everything have to be my fault?

I just get mad when people only see 5 seconds of my life and think they would do it differently.  Maybe they would, maybe they wouldn’t, but hey, what can I say?  At least I am here, in the trenches of raising kids, digging as I go.  I am present all day every day, even in the moments I get to be away from them AT WORK.  I mess up, I lose my temper, I let things go that I shouldn’t, I feed them crap food, let them watch too much TV, but I am HERE.  Cut a girl some slack will ya?

Wow, that got angry.  Just a vent piece.  Mark’s been gone for two weeks and comes home tomorrow.  Let’s just say I need a break.  I’ll feel better by Sunday.

This is what life has come to…

Life has been reduced to Ketel One in a kids cup.
Life has been reduced to Ketel One in a kids cup.

This is my Sunday night.  I was going to hop on the treadmill.  But my kids have driven me to drink instead.  In a kid’s plastic cup.  With the good vodka.  By myself.

How do they do this to us?  No one can make you mad like your kids.  Not your husband, not your work, not your family, not your parents.  It’s like these little people that came from  you know exactly how to push your buttons.  How to take that one last frayed nerve you have and pull.  Hard.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you either don’t have kids, or your own kids have not reached, oh say, 3 (if I’m being generous).  I remember looking at my 6 month old baby boy and wondering, how could I ever get mad at this face?  HA!  Easily when said face is telling you YOU need to adjust your attitude and he doesn’t care how many privileges he’s lost because what I say doesn’t matter and he didn’t do anything wrong.

My personal button of rage is flipped when they completely disregard the fact that I am speaking.  They don’t seem to fear me in any way.  Not even a little bit.  It’s like I am some chump substitute teacher they are switching names with their best friends to drive insane.  They aren’t like this for Mark.  Ever.  It’s like I emit some sort of unique pheromone that only my kids can smell that makes them completely insane and flippant about anything I say.  I feel like I am talking to brick walls.  Stubbier, smarter, cockier brick walls.

What am I doing wrong?

No, I’m not depressed.  I am highly medicated and have been since G was 6 months old, and I ain’t never going back to non-medicated me.  It was horrible.  I was horrible.  Parenting was horrible.  My life was horrible.  I will take my 40 mg of Prozac gladly and proudly.  I will take that Xanax when needed and have it on my person at all times.   In fact, the highest dose you can take (so they tell me) is 60 mg of Prozac.  I have been thinking about pleading my case to my doctor for 60 mgs just because.  I am technically doing great on 40 mgs, but hey, if 40 is this good, imagine what 60 would feel like amirite?  I can’t quite convince myself to lie to my doctor about my mindset…yet.  I don’t want him to lock me away in some insane asylum.  Unless said asylum let me have my own room and computer with wifi, then sign me up.  Peace and quiet with no one needing ANYTHING from me.  Just some nice nurse to come in a few times a day and say, “Mrs. Jen, time for your medicine.”  Heaven.

You know you are a mother when an insane asylum sounds relaxing.

I think I may have scared them tonight.  I yelled.  Thank God it’s northwest Ohio and still freakin freezing so the windows were closed because it was loud.  LOUD.  They team up, ignore me, laugh and run around, scream and holler in circles around me and I had had it.  My son lost his book that was due tomorrow in school.  My daughter refused to get into bed, instead dramatically dragging herself across the mattress and screaming in maniacal glee while doing it.

My kindergartener has a project due on Wednesday that I was going to foist upon his dad, but his dad got stuck on the east coast because of the effing weather, so no dad this weekend.  That leaves me to put it together, which will be a fight.  I don’t want to be that mother who does his project for him, and I won’t, but  it’s tempting because I know the fight to get him to put any effort at all into it will be like pulling teeth.  So there’s my Monday and Tuesday fight.  After work.  You know work, the place that I get to go back to after a 3 day “weekend.”  3 days because Willie comes down with strep this week, which I totally blew off because I assumed he was being dramatic and it was just a cold, and he never gets sick, so he’ll snap out of it right?  WRONG.  I sent my poor kid to school for 4 1/2 days with strep throat because I was desperate to make it to my job for 5 days in a row.  Something of a miracle during the months of December through, apparently, April.  Or even May,  as G had pneumonia at that time last year, so by no means am I in the clear yet.

I don’t know.  I am just ranting and raving.  Venting.  I’m not sure this post even makes any sense, and you know what?  I don’t care.  I had a margie at Chili’s where I attempted to have an enjoyable evening with my mother after not seeing her for 4 months, and now I’m halfway done with a 1/2 vodka 1/2 OJ  fuzzy navel, so I am 3 sheets to not really caring about anything.  No I am not an alcoholic.  It just seems to be a Sunday trend.  God bless Sundays.  Get me back to work, where the normal people are.  And if you knew the people I worked with, you’d know that’s comical.  My workplace makes The Office seem rational.  They’ve got nothing on us and I have a picture to prove it, but I don’t want to get fired.  Yet.

Good night all.  One day, I won’t be whining about parenting.  Just not today.

 

Bully Pulpit

English: A Bully Free Zone sign - School in Be...
English: A Bully Free Zone sign – School in Berea, Ohio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is April 10th.  A date that is etched into my brain for one annoying reason.  Today is my childhood bully’s birthday, and for some reason, I can never forget it.  A girl who made my life miserable from about grade 5 until freshman year of high school.

I don’t think of this girl often, as it’s been 20 years since I last saw her, but every April 10th I remember it’s her birthday.  I hope wherever she is, she’s happy, as I can assure you she was not as a kid.

I met D’Vile (Ha!  Get my play on words?!) when I picked her mom to babysit my sister and me.  It was between a lady who had a nice boring house that abutted my school or her mom, who had a super fantastic playground and a POOL in the backyard.  Pretty easy decision when you’re 9.  It started out fun enough.  Her mom was nice.  A little possessive of food (meaning I couldn’t grab Little Debbie’s whenever I wanted, which to me, was the End. Of. The. World.), but otherwise a good babysitter.  Her dad worked 3rd shift at the Jeep Plant and was chronically laid off.  (Sidenote:  This was my first real experience with a loser.  He basically scared the crap out of me.  Lord help his kids (never us thank God) if he had to get his paddle, which was hung on the wall as decoration, for punishment.  It was sadistic.  Not because of the paddling, but because of the psychological torture leading up to said paddling.  Crazy.  No wonder this girl was messed up.  He was often laid off and was always smoking and drinking beer even before we left for school.  His favorite pastime was recording on VHS Looney Toon cartoons on the TV in some sad desperate attempt to “get them all.”  (Poor dude, all that time wasted, I can buy him a complete DVD set now for $50).  And another fun fact, he had a “secret” room.  One with a padlock on it in the basement.  As kids, we never thought anything of it, except it had plants and a lot of neon lights in there when we did see the door open.  In grownup hindsight, dude was growing his own medicinals if you know what I’m sayin.

Anyways, I’m just providing some background.  Here’s the thing that freaks me out and makes me kind of a crazy parent – my parents never knew any of this.  Why?  Because I didn’t think they needed to know.  First, I had no idea about the pot.  Second, they never hit or yelled at me or my sister, so I thought this was just the way it was in their house.  They basically were good to us; it was their own kids they fucked with.

Anyways, back to D’Vile.  It started kind of slow and as a kid, I didn’t recognize it.  First, there was another girl her mom watched that she was just plain ol’ mean to.  They blamed her for everything that went wrong, made her feel crazy, fat and ugly, all for no apparent reason, except maybe D’Vile’s mom didn’t like her mom.

She eventually left.  I met this girl again in my 20s.  We ended up working in adjoining cubicles at my 8 months of torture call center job, when I recognized her name.  She survived and turned into a nice normal adult, but has very different memories of her time there, but it still has the same crazy undertones I remember.

After she left, they turned on my sister.  I don’t know why they never picked on me, I think it’s because of my wallflower tendencies.  I remember one day they pulled her chair out from under her as she was sitting down just to be mean.  As her older sister, I started to cry.  Cry because no one had ever been mean like that to my sister (besides me) and I didn’t know how to stop it.  This girl and her little brother terrified me.  Never once did I think to tell my parents.

So, this girl and I were friends.  Friends in that I was terrified to not be her friend.  We were in the same class that year, and I noticed she was mean to others around me and I didn’t like it.  I never had the balls to stand up to her and defend any of my classmates, I just stood by hoping she wouldn’t turn on me.

As time went on, we got older and eventually stopped being watched by her mom, and after a few years of this “friendship,” it got too much for me.  Some straw broke the camel’s back.  I can’t remember what now, but I remember my real best friend and I decided to take a stand.  We completely stopped talking to her, which at 10 was totally the right way to go about ending a friendship with an unstable crazy bully.

Let’s just say that didn’t go over well.  Over the course of the next few years, all culminating at a rough inner city middle school, she made me and mostly, my best friend’s, life a living hell.  She called my friend butterball and other fat names when we got off the bus each day.  She’d follow us home.  Things never got physical thank God, but then, girls are much more sadistic about bullying.  They go for the jugular, and by jugular I mean tear into an 11 and 12 year old girl’s physical appearance.  It was pretty brutal.

By now my parents knew, but were pretty much helpless to stop it.  I mean, she wasn’t physical, just threatening mentally.  Plus, these were the 90s, waaay before anti-bullying campaigns became popular and schools became more involved.  It was just us kids figuring it out on our own, in a very Animal Farm/Lord of the Flies type of way.  (See?  I did read in 8th grade.)

Things got better when my best friend and I went to the private high school and she continued onto the public high school.  We no longer saw her and thought it was over.  Then, one summer we started getting prank calls.  This was pre-technology anything.  Heck, we still had rotary phones in our house and caller ID hadn’t yet been invented.  Now, as the babysitter of my younger sister, initially these calls were terrifying.  I was alone in a house all day long with my sister and some weirdo kept calling, breathing into the phone and then hanging up.  We called the police and they put a tap on our line (or the phone company did, I can’t remember.)  All we had to do was pick up the phone each time for it to record.  I don’t know how we figured out it was her, but we did.  One day she called and hung up over 200 times, which I knew because I had to keep track of and pick up the phone each time.

Nothing really happened when they tracked it back to her.  I think we pressed charges, but not much was done.  I think they found out she was stealing from someone else and got in trouble.  Her parents divorced.  I went to high school, tried to fade into the background and not draw any attention to myself in true introvert fashion, pretty much hated it, and survived. Life got dramatically better in college and I grew up to what I am now – a fairly confident 30-something.

I wish I could take my 33 year old brain back to that 8 year old girl I once was.  I would tell her what I was confirming in my young brain – that this girl is batshit crazy, you should tell your parents, and get away from her and her family at all costs.  That you and your best friend were beautiful, funny and smart and to never let some scrawny insecure little girl make you doubt that.

Funny thing is, this girl still has a bit of power over me.  Right now, I am a wee bit afraid of putting this on the interweb for fear she will find me again and start all over again.  But, with some preliminary research, I am pretty sure this girl is mostly off the internet grid.  So maybe, if we’re real quiet, it won’t get back to her.

I guess to wrap up, bullies still scare the crap out of me.  My son is just starting to experience mild forms of it, but so far, we have escaped mostly unscathed.  I am sure this is temporary as my kid is quirky, intelligent and funny in a weird way, which will eventually make him a target.  And my daughter is fairly timid in her interactions with kids her age and basically lets her friends run all over her.  I am absolutely clueless on how to handle this.  Do I helicopter over them, so I am not largely unaware as my parents were?  Do I teach them when, where and how to defend themselves?  How do I teach them biting sarcasm and dry humor that has become my defense as an adult against big meanies?

I have no idea.  Guess I’ll Google it or ask around if and when the time arises that I have to deal with it.  I am just terrified some punk is going to stub out the quirky, unique, adorable strengths of my children way before they realize it’s those traits that make them awesome.  I never want my kids to feel they have to fit into some box of preconceived normal.  I want them to think for themselves and be leaders.  I want them to have best friends who look out for them and love them for who they are, not because they are good at a sport or drive a fancy car (not likely on both accounts – they do have us as parents.).

I just hope I’m doing something right and can guide them through as best I can.  What are your thoughts?  What are you doing for your kids?  I’m all ears.

It’s a Wonderful Life

I came home from work this evening to see my kids running up to me with joy. They both took a springing leap into my outstretched arms as I knelt down to say hello. They were so excited about their days they started clamoring together. I got a few snippets of “and then we went outside and saw…” and a bit of “Janey played a princess, and I was…,” before I laughingly told them to slow down and go one at a time. As I stood to listen to their stories, a wonderful smell wafted from the kitchen. I walk in to see my husband cooking away at a bubbling, sizzling stovetop. He looks up and smiles and says, “How was your day? I got off early, picked up the kids and thought I’d start dinner and surprise you.”

Beautiful, lovely childrent
Beautiful, lovely children

Later that night, I sit next to the tub, playing along with a riveting adventure between Ariel and Nemo, while the kids giggled and splashed away. Then, after they were dried and nestled in their beds, I laid in bed with them, read them each a bedtime story as they sleepily yawned and asked for another one. I shushed them with a chuckle and turned out their lights, kissed them lightly, and snuggled them down in their covers. I shut the door to begin my evening with my husband, which included a few TV shows and casual conversations about our day.

General merriment and comraderie
General merriment and comraderie

AND SCENE. You didn’t really think that was my day did you? If so, you haven’t scrolled down to read much else I’ve wrote yet. The above little fantasy world is what my idiotic brain thought marriage and having kids would be like. Yes, I knew kids were hard, marriage was work, but really, I thought, how hard could it be?

Fast forward to my real life. I have two children, a full time job with no sick days, only precious few “Paid Time Off” days that are rapidly dwindling to single digits and it’s only the beginning of April, and a husband that we are lucky to see every weekend, because the only job he could find that didn’t pay minimum wage and involve a spatula was located on the east coast. 500 milez away.

What kind of idealistic weirdo was I to think I could live this charmed life? Besides, who lives this way anyways? Give me any parent and I’ll show you someone who would sell their souls to be given one lousy day where they get to do whatever they want. Where no one needs something from them, where no one hides from her brother under their shirt and then proceeds to tell said parent they have a big fat bootie. Where their kindergartener doesn’t act like the five minutes of homework he’s been given to do over spring break isn’t the equivalent of ripping his limbs off. Where no matter what they cook, they hear “THIS IS GROSS!” Even if it is the food they loved last week and were screaming for even though they knew you had ran out of it and hadn’t had time to get to the grocery store for more.

My life is actually quite charmed and I am very lucky, but screw that it’s a wonderful life bullshit and let’s get real. I’m in a mood. I’ve just spent two straight days with my children. Not the above mentioned joyful loving children – my actual children. And to make matters worse, both were in some stage of sickness since Saturday, which ups the normally whiny and bitchy quotient by 100. Ever get waken up by a sneeze? One that’s aimed directly at your face and showered on you at point blank range? I have. Ever get waken up by hearing, “QUIT WATCHING MY KINDLE, YOU HAVE YOUR OWN!” Moment of silence… then, “MOM! GRACE IS BREATHING ON ME AND WON’T MOVE!” This is then followed by a scream that gets louder as it screeches down the hallway to find you to tell you all about her brother just punched her? Check.

These have been my “vacation days” for the past three years. The first year Mark went back to work after his yearlong lay off, Gracie was 13 months and Will was 3, and I ran out of PTO by June. I took the rest of my days off unpaid and luckily didn’t get fired for taking a whopping 27 days off that year. The next year was better; I gained more time off for being there longer, had slightly less sickness and made it until October before I ran out of PTO days. Christmas shopping? HA! Done online, by a husband 500 miles away, or amidst the crazies on the weekend, squeezed in between parties and bake offs and general holiday “merriment.”

I know I am whining and people in third world countries are saying, “bitch please,” but really, we all know they aren’t reading this anyways, unless Oprah has given them a computer and internet access, so I can whine away to my first world parents who feel me.

I just never pictured life where a shower would be optional. I never thought my kids would want three freakin meals EVERY SINGLE DAY, prepared by me every time. Seriously, when I was growing up, food just magically appeared, and I was pissed because Mom called dinner every single night just as The Monkees was starting. To add to that annoyance, there was no pause button. You either watched it at 6 or you didn’t see it AT ALL. But I digress. This magical food every single night appeared in serving dishes (my kids think serving dishes are pots with potholders under them and a cooking stone topped with bagel pizza bites) and included, no kidding, a meat, a starch and a veggie, and oftentimes rolls or biscuits. Every. Single. Night. Like magic.

So I grew up thinking when I had kids, this magic fairy would show up at my house and cook, clean, and do the hard part of parenting. Stupid fairy never showed. Well unless my mom or mother-in-law shows up, then my house breathes a sigh of relief from being cleaned and the stove gets woken up by someone actually using it. But then, when they do show up, all I am free to do is attempt to sift through that paper mountain of filing that hasn’t been touched in 5 years or play find-the-throw up/poop/pee-smell. Or if I’m really lucky, I can sit down and watch TV…Backyardigans, Cat in the Hat (If I ever meet Martin Short, I am ripping his larynx out…Yes, your mother does MIND if you do!), or the original Benji…from 1974, with my kids. Or maybe I can go outside and watch them ride their bikes and yell in a panic every 5 seconds at the top of my lungs CAAARRRR!!!! Or maybe I can go downstairs and eat some fake food in the playroom and get bossed around about how I’m eating it wrong and not making appropriate yummy noises. Or maybe we can play legos, where within 5 minutes I am like, “Where is that freakin red piece the size of an atom?!”

Parent for reals
Parent for reals

Then once the bedtime routine is over and silence finally descends on the house, I have dishes, cat litter, and laundry among other things giving me dirty looks. Sometimes I do it, begrudgingly and half-assed, all while promising myself I’ll deep clean “later.” Sometimes I say Fuck IT and sit down to read a book or catch up on actual enjoyable adult TV, only to be interrupted by a 14 year old cat who steps on my face like, “What the fuck woman? Remember me? The one who can tell all your drunk college stories AND your most recent sexcapades? Yeah, well, it’s time for some kitty loving. And don’t mind my snotty nose, I’ll just wipe it all over your shirt.”

Planning her assault
Planning her assault

So then at this point – it’s 11:00. Time to give up, fall asleep in my contacts and makeup, only to hit the snooze to start it all over again at 5:30 the next day and tick the days off until my husband can join me for our fun-filled, family-time weekends, which include dragging our asses out of bed at 7 (if we are lucky) and making those two days not only productive and efficient, but also the best freakin 2 days our kids’ lives, all to alleviate some of that mommy and daddy guilt that plagues us during the week.

Thanks. I feel better. Feel my pain people! Help me to know I’m not alone.

PS – Now I’ll go watch my kids sleep like angels and fall in love with them all over again…or at least enough to start fresh tomorrow… or tackle the midnight fever or vomiting episode.

 

Messin Around

One quick, funny, slightly mortifying story, and then this PMSy, tired mother is going to bed.

Like I’ve mentioned, Mark has been doing this new job for over a month now and we are getting a rhythm down, a routine established to help give some structure for our kids and for our weekends.  Therefore, weekends include a “quiet time,” which because they are 4 and 6, is rapidly becoming non-essential, and us parents are the ones who need some quiet time mid-afternoon on Saturdays and Sundays, not our dear offspring.

And it’s worth reiterating, we don’t see each other at all during the week, hence we relish our alone time.  So, we put them in their rooms, shut the doors and tell them to play quietly until we come to tell them it’s ok to wake up.   Most of the time, this works and due to their rooms being the only electronic-free rooms in our house, they usually fall asleep out of “boredom” surrounded by actual toys.  Well, we were going to find out they don’t always go to sleep.

I think we both intended to lay in our bed, do some snuggle bunnying and then grab a quick snooze in the quiet moments.  Well, thanks to ending a really good, really smutty book series earlier that morning (He fixes pancakes, I read.  Totally fair.) and the fact that my husband is a guy and I’ve never not seen any guy horny, let alone this one whom I’ve agreed to love, cherish and snog til death due us part –  snuggling led to some very heavy petting.  All under the covers, but a little ardent with maybe a dirty limerick or two being exchanged in the heat of the moment.   Well, apparently we got a little too consumed and did not hear our son’s door open, nor did we hear the footsteps pad up the hallway.  So into it we were (yes with the door open), we were not interrupted until we heard, “When you guys are done fooling around, can naptime be over?”  We look up to see our son standing calmly in the doorway asking a very prudent question.

Gasp.  Shrivel. Panic.

“Uh, in a little bit buddy. Mkay?”

Ga!  Forget college.  We have a therapy fund already started, but really then maybe not, he really didn’t seem all that bothered – but then he could be repressing the whole thing and will be waking up in cold sweats at 16 wondering why rhyming anatomy words creep him out.

True story.  OK – maybe our dirty talk doesn’t rhyme, but go with me on this one.

PS – Check me out on Goodreads, where you can find all the books I allude to.  <—-

Sundays

I love my kids.  I love my husband.  With all my heart.  HOWEVER, at this moment, I want them to all GO AWAY.

First, I just Febrezed my husband’s shorts and the couch he was polluting with his ass.  While he was laying on said couch in said shorts.   I say, I am getting the odor at its source.  He complains it’s cold.  Whiner.

Second, my 6YO’s meds are off.  We are in the process of finding the right dosage level, and I am supposed to be patient while we are doing this.  Patience is not one of my strong suits.   I am pretty sure the pharmacist at Rite Aid is a sick sadist and gave us placebo sugar pills instead of ADHD medication, because this kid is off the charts lately.  He hasn’t held still or stopped making noise since he woke up this morning.  It’s like the Energizer Bunny on steroids.  As a disclaimer, I have been anti-medicating kids since Day 1 and fought for YEARS to put him on a controlled substance for his ADHD and sensory issues.  We went everywhere, tried everything, and tested tested tested.  The only saving grace has been this medicine.  At first, it was like a miracle.  He was still my boy, personality, appetite and energy intact, it was just less insane.  I am not calling him crazy, but sometimes his mind would go so fast and his body would totally spaz, it was hard to watch him get lost in his own body.  This medicine seemed to help him keep up with himself.  But now, whether he has grown a tolerance for it or because he is growing like a weed, it has started to lose its effectiveness.  He’s become the scapegoat in school again – the one all the other kids blame when things go bad.  95% of the time, he is actually the culprit, but the other 5% of the time, he gets blamed because it’s easy to believe he was the instigator.

The thing I love about my boy is he’s a lover.  He wants to entertain, to be loved, to make people laugh.  Gosh, not sure where he’d get that from eh?  He’s just a bit more boisterous than I ever was.  With his meds off again, we seem to be back to square one and seem to have lost all the momentum we have gained.  The inner struggle Mark and I go through is endless.  Is he truly not in control of himself or is this a 6YO testing his boundaries?  Do we punish?  Do we seek other treatment?  Do we blame the disorder or make him take responsiblity for his own actions?  We try to maintain a balance of being responsible for his own actions and treating his behavioral problems.

Like I said, my patience level is not at its peak at the moment.  At this point, at 7:30 on a Sunday night,  I am all for pumping him full of Valium just so I can think clearly for two seconds without having to answer why the lights blur when he squints his eyes, how to find home on Google maps, all while dodging Nerf darts that him, his dad and sister are currently battling each other with.  But that’s wrong, I know this.

Next, my daughter is in a stage that has geniusly been termed the Fucking Fours.  Ahh, the age of 4.  Still adorable, getting smarter by the second, but yet still incapable of finding her hat and coat, which is always in the same place – on the floor where she left it.   The most dramatic person I’ve ever met.  Today, I put my arms on her shoulders and gently (seriously) moved her aside as I walked by her in the hallway.  She proceeded to execute the most dramatic fake fall I have ever seen.  Academy Awards (ahem Oscars, sorry rebranded, forgot) have been won for less acting.  As she looks dramatically over her fallen shoulder up from the ground at me, she exclaims MOM!  Why did you push me?  SOB!  Good Lord child.

I should write a book just on the insane stuff that comes out of her mouth.  I am truly terrified and can honestly not look her preschool teachers in the eye for fear of what she has told them about her homelife.   Today, she told my husband to quit being a pain in the ass, which to be fair, he is, but I wish she wouldn’t pick up everything I yell at him in the car.  I thought you were watching that movie??  I didn’t spend 30K on a car so you could LISTEN to our front seat conversations!   Next car, a limo with a dividing window, or maybe a police squad car, which would at least prevent the projectiles from coming my way, but wouldn’t quite mute the sound, unless we got that plastic divider thing you see in some COPS episodes.  OK, I am giving this waaay too much thought.  Then, she also tells us we have to kiss her like we’re married, which is her tilting her head to one side and shaking her head back and forth, so as to get continuous movement while kissing.  Nice huh?  What kind of princess porn am I letting her watch?  Where is she getting this stuff?

Also, her most favorite daily accomplishment?  The one she yells to me with unabashed pride at the end of school, in restaurants or at Grandma’s house?  MOM!  I didn’t poop my pants today!  G!  That is so exciting!  I am glad I have set the bar so high for my youngest!!!  I don’t need her to start reading, know her colors, I just need her not to poop in her pants.  Mensa here we come.

And finally, my traveling husband.  We are a month into this new job and five days before my period, therefore,  I am ready for him to go back to where he’s working.  I let him drive this morning and since I am sorely out of practice with being a passenger, I could not help the backseat driving that comes ripping from my mouth.  But to be fair to ME, he does pull too far forward in a driveway and does appear to be hanging out in the street, he DID almost hit that guy in the Costco parking lot because he was so concerned with saving my bottle of wine rolling around in the backseat, and he really didn’t see that car coming from his right (which, I was closer to, therefore, was simply helping him out).  This resulted in an angry chinese fire drill in a very busy Costco parking lot, when he REFUSED to drive with me any longer and told me I am driving.  Really Mark?  Aren’t we overreacting just a tad?  Now I know where G gets her dramatic side from.  Yeesh.

Then he takes us to dinner at Olive Garden.  OK OK, I admit I have super simple taste, but I LOVE me some Olive Garden.  He then FORCES me to get dessert.  Bastard.  Problem is, he wants to share.  JENNY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD!!!    We get the chocolate cake, which has four layers of awesomeness, and where does he start?   The back!  The best freakin part!  He’s totally cheating!  He is stealing the essence of the dessert while I am dutifully starting at the tip and working my way up to the delicious finale.  GOD!

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Needless to say, I need a break.  But, it’s Sunday, I have papers to sign, lunches to pack, a husband who needs to catch a 6 AM flight, and a week to prepare for Easter, so no rest for the weary.  Although, I guess I could watch just one episode of Parks And Recreation before I start right?